ARTICLE (MAY 2020): Quality steering new Nova Scotia Seafood trademark program
May 7, 2020
At the eastern edge of the continent of North America, resting midway between the North Pole and the equator, is where the hardworking seafood community of Nova Scotia earns its title as Canada’s industry powerhouse, producing high-quality products with stories to match.
Canada’s leading seafood exporter, Nova Scotia ships premium species such as lobster, shrimp, snow crab, oysters, and more to nearly 80 countries around the world. Over 50 percent of Canada’s lobsters are landed in the province, and over 40 percent of the country’s total shellfish hauls also hail from there. What’s more, 80 percent of Canada’s sea scallop exports come from Nova Scotia as well.
Such figures come courtesy of a longstanding culture and heritage that is rooted in delivering quality, a mission that Nova Scotia’s seafood suppliers take seriously in times of success and adversity.
“What’s important to us is integrity and staying true to who Nova Scotians are,” said Honourable Keith Colwell, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture.
No matter what the future holds, Colwell is confident that the province’s quality-driven brand can overcome any obstacle because of what the sector stands for: sustainability, innovation, integrity, and people.
“Nova Scotia seafood is unique because it not only originates from our cold, pristine waters, but also utilizes several generations of experience and modern knowledge and technology, and is harvested and farmed in a sustainable manner,” Colwell said.
A new trademark program developed by Nova Scotia Seafood, which represents the region’s seafood sector, highlights these characteristics, and serves to differentiate the province’s premium offerings in the global marketplace, Colwell explained.
“We want to ensure that all vested partners accrue the same benefits from the trademark, by building and maintaining a premium global brand. Accordingly, we have developed strict guidelines for the use of the trademark,” he said.
A defined set of administrative and product criteria has been established for the industry program, which seeks to guarantee that premium offerings are represented under the Nova Scotia Seafood brand. Compliance with applicable regulatory requirements is a must for companies who decide to pursue the trademark; interested parties must also demonstrate “a commitment to continuous improvement through quality assurance documentation,” Nova Scotia Seafood said.
To earn approval to use the trademark, seafood suppliers are required to undergo a six-step process, which includes an onsite assessment whereby assessors evaluate a company’s products and operations to confirm if the items addressed on a self-assessment application checklist are being met to satisfaction.
Once a company completes the rigorous process of obtaining a license to utilize the trademark on its products and promotional materials, it can also benefit from marketing investments made by Nova Scotia Seafood, Colwell confirmed.
International shellfish trader, the Bill and Stanley Oyster Company, has become the first supplier to complete the process and receive approval from Nova Scotia Seafood to use its trademark, adding credibility to the firm’s existing brand. The company can now share marketing materials developed by Nova Scotia Seafood with its buyers and retailers, who in turn can use the information to better communicate with consumers.
“Nova Scotia has built an international reputation for having some of the highest quality seafood available in the world,” Bill and Stanley Oyster Company’s Brian Fortune said. “This reputation has taken years to build. Oysters were not a product that was previously available in commercial quantities for export. Now, through advancements in aquaculture, we do have these quantities available – our oysters are of high quality and marketing with this trademark will assist our company to gain worldwide recognition for another top-quality Nova Scotia seafood product.”
“The additional quality assurances offered by this trademark will give us a solid foundation to export a superior consistent quality oysters to destinations throughout the world,” Fortune added.
Connecting with customers and consumers is one of three reasons that suppliers seek out Nova Scotia Seafood and its trademark program, according to Colwell.
“Our recognizable brand assists consumers in identifying the highest quality seafood exports throughout the province,” he said, adding that the label can help companies connect with qualified buyers at industry trade events such as Seafood Expo North America and Seafood Expo Global.
Promotion and export growth are the other factors encouraging Nova Scotia seafood providers to enter the trademark program.
"Approved companies will be featured prominently in Nova Scotia Seafood export and business development activities and promoted through the brand’s website, social media, story content, and receive a special quality designation in the Nova Scotia Seafood Export Directory. Approved companies will also have preferred status as seafood suppliers for all Nova Scotia Seafood branded activities,” Colwell said.
Nova Scotia Seafood utilizes the brand trademark in its own marketing and promotional materials, both domestically and internationally. Approved companies can use the trademark to market and profile Nova Scotia seafood products by placing it on their packaging, marketing materials, and electronic media.
Ultimately, the Nova Scotia Seafood brand aims to promote the province’s seafood in key international markets such as Asia, Eastern Europe, and the United States. It’s designed to raise the value and awareness of Nova Scotia seafood via retail and foodservice promotions, marketing collateral, in-bound missions for members of the overseas trade and press, trade shows, out-bound trade missions, and advertising.